Back to the office? This laptop briefcase is premium but practical

Somewhere between a laptop bag and a shoulder bag, Harber calls this a laptop briefcase.

Image: Mary Branscombe

If you venture back into the office for a few days a week, you might be looking for a new laptop bag that’s no ordinary backpack: something with plenty of compartments for all your desired cables, chargers, power banks, and pens between your home office and your occasional work desk to wear.

Or if you’re going all the way to work again, you might want to make it more bearable with something more efficient.

If you want to treat yourself to something premium, spacious but also practical, Harber London’s Everyday Leather Briefcase is all that – but you’re paying Apple-level premium prices at £349 for the style, which fits a 15-inch or 16-inch -inch model requires “Laptop. (There’s a smaller bag for 13-inch and 14-inch laptops, but for the same price.)

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What you’re paying for here are the materials and the quality, and you’re also getting a practical design. The leather is both soft and strong, and while it will likely show some wear over time, it will still look good and give you many years of travel. This can easily outlast many laptops.

It’s also surprisingly roomy for something so slim and compact: we could fit a 15-inch Surface Book 3, a Surface Laptop Studio, and a Surface Pro X at the same time, so a laptop and iPad easily fit inside.

Three laptops in Harber's briefcase

The Surface Book 3, Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro X fit neatly into the padded pockets.

Image: Mary Branscombe

The interior has several pockets made of robust cotton twill. Haber has added more padding and changed the style of the interior compartments from previous designs to allow more space for your laptops and better protect them. On one side are two deep pockets, both padded, that can hold a laptop and iPad side-by-side, with a snap-on leather strap to keep them in place, allowing you to reach down to the two stretchable mesh pockets that are big enough for your charger, power cord or anything else you don’t want to be loose in the ground.

inside pockets

There are additional pockets on the side of the two laptop sleeves: these two stretch to hold messy things like chargers and power cords.

Image: Mary Branscombe

On the other side is another deep pocket, also padded, and this has a magnet to keep it closed. Reaching down there are three flat pockets (small, medium and large) with a wide leather strap sewn across the exterior and spaced at different intervals to allow you to neatly store pens, cables and other smaller accessories.

a Surface pen and USBC cable in organizer pockets

Keep cords and pens organized or slip them into pockets.

Image: Mary Branscombe

There’s also a key ring with a metal clip and leather fob that rotates if you just want to pull it to a more comfortable angle to release your keys, or a magnet that lets you detach and then snap it back in place. This is for sure; it will not snap out accidentally. But you have to twist it to pull it off and it’s fiddly to get it out.

If you’re also traveling long distances again, the briefcase has an additional strap on the back that allows you to slide it over the handle of a suitcase or carry-on. If you haven’t had a bag that can do this before, juggling bags through the airport makes a world of difference.

The two handles are sturdy and big enough to slip over your elbow, but probably not over your shoulder

The shoulder strap is more disappointing; it’s a firm woven fabric, but quite narrow and too long for someone who isn’t very tall or has particularly broad shoulders, and the buckle is reversed so you can tuck the excess into the shoulder pad so it hangs over the zipper . The shoulder pad itself isn’t actually padded, just two layers of leather. And while the metal hooks at the end of the strap are extremely sturdy, the unobtrusive leather loops they slide into match the handles rather than the corners of the briefcase, giving it a good balance but meaning the long strap is even longer . There are four loops so you can choose which way the strap tilts across your shoulder (and you can slip a luggage tag through one of the spares).

Although the briefcase is available in tan, dark brown or black, the interior is always black: this looks stylish on the brown color combinations, but rather drab with the black exterior. Harber missed a trick by not choosing something more flashy for the interior like scarlet, turquoise or lime that would really stand out against the black and give the bag an even more special feel (like the maroo leather slipcase lined with lime microfiber is which I have used for laptops for many years).

A black bag next to a man's leg

The leather looks great, but the black interior could be more striking.

Image: Mary Branscombe

The metal zip also looks less matching with the black leather, although again it’s extremely sturdy and has long leather tags that are easy to grab on the two zip pullers (so you can open it from whichever side you like, but it doesn’t open on all three sides like a laptop bag, only partially on each side). The base is flat: not really wide enough to stand up on its own, but it’s not awkward to balance on a table when putting away or taking out your laptop.

Hands open the bag

Putting the strap clip over the handles gives you balance when carrying the bag, but it’s not as easy to get things out.

Image: Mary Branscombe

All in all, this is both high quality and practical; something of an investment but durable enough to be a long-term investment.

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